On Bernadette Mayer (1945–2022)

Hannah Zeavin at n+1:

IT’S A FUNNY THING TO LEARN only ex post facto how much a poet has shaped your life, not just on the page, through what we might call “influence,” but via the infrastructures they built that continue to shape the scene of work (and of hanging out, for poetry is, a priori, a social medium). Structures get made so that you might set them and forget them, so that they might survive individuals. These things are less rewarded, even as they keep the literal lights on. When Bernadette was directing the Poetry Project, she kept track of long lists of poets who were due to read, or wouldn’t read on particular days, or hadn’t yet read. She wrote, yes of course, and that is what I am celebrating, but she also facilitated: workshops, donations to our spaces (most famously ten thousand dollars from the Grateful Dead to the precarious Project), made new magazines, new ways of thinking and being together, when these things are nearly impossible in the best of times. I didn’t know, for instance, until I began trawling through the archive of Bernadette’s life after she died, that I gave my first real reading in a series she had made, that was still going then some twenty-five years after she had started it and is still going now an additional fifteen years later.

more here.